Switzerland set to vote on universal basic income

The latest polls show 72 per cent of the public are likely to vote against the proposal

Samuel Osborne
Friday 03 June 2016 15:51
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The vote will take place on June 5th
The vote will take place on June 5th

Voters in Switzerland are preparing to vote on proposals ton introduce a universal basic income in a referendum on Sunday.

The initiative's founders suggest each adult should receive 2,500 francs (£1,800) a month, with children receiveing 625 francs (£450) a month until they reach 18.

However, the latest polls show 72 per cent of the public are likely to vote against the proposal in a move encouraged by the Swiss government and nearly all of the country's political parties.

Authorities estimate the 25 billion francs needed to cover the amount of payment proposed would require huge spending cuts.

Sunday's vote will be to decide whether to support the principle of the new measure, rather than to immediately implement it.

Gabriel Barta of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) told The Local it could take up to ten years to debate, finance and implement the measure.

Mr Barta said universal basic income (UBI) would remove people from the demanding process of having to prove their lack of income to receive benefits.

He said: "These people are not actually being guaranteed a life of dignity in the way the constitution says.

"We need a basic income to allow each person to be his or her own entrepreneur, to choose what work he or she does."

Switzerland: World's biggest poster unfurled in Geneva supporting basic income

However, critics have attacked the initiative as "a Marxist dream".

"If you pay people to do nothing, they will do nothing," Charles Wyplosz, economics professor at the Geneva Graduate Institute, told AFP, according to The Local.

The idea of basic income is becoming increasingly popular over the world, with pilot schemes under consideration by the government of Finland and Canada.

Last month, a poll found two thirds of the British public support a universal basic income.

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